The Fast of Gedaliah

Answer us, God, on this day of fasting, because we are in great pain.

This morning, when I read the special prayer for fast days, I thought that’s how it went — “Answer us, God, because fasting gives us great pain.” (“Pain” is translated from the Hebrew tzarah — like your grandmother probably said at some point, “I have such tzuris!”) But that was me thinking short-sightedly — it actually refers to the pain of exile, from Israel and from God, that’s got us fasting in the first place.

Today is the Fast of Gedalia, named for the person who was put in charge of the Jews during the Babylonian exile. He helped out Jeremiah the Prophet and tried to do the best he could for the Jews, given the position he was placed in by the reigning Babylonians. He was assassinated by a group sent by the king of Ammon.

If you’re fasting, have an easy one. And if you’re not…well, apparently, it’s not the fast that gives us pain.

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